(genregoroundreviews, Dec. 22, 2008, Harriet Klausner)
In Denver Jack and Melissa McGuane were euphoric when the adoption was finally approved and baby Angelina made their family complete. They love their infant daughter, but nine months later the thirty something couple is shocked and dismayed. Julie Perala of the adoption agency informs them that Angelina’s eighteen year old biological father Garrett, a Cherry Creek High School student, wants his daughter; he never signed the documents waiving his rights to her. His father is powerful Federal Judge John Moreland who demands his son raise his granddaughter.
Jack and Melissa love Angelina and want to do what is best for her. Thus they agree to meet father and son, but at the session, the McGuane’s realize neither of their adopted infant’s paternal side is interested in her welfare. They have a personal grudge agenda and little Angelina is the kickball. Worse the Judge uses his vast power, legal and otherwise, to wreck havoc on the McGuane’s trying force them to surrender. However, the scenario is not as straightforward as the Moreland father and son insist; child porn, and murder turn the three weeks from that initial horrifying phone call into hell in Colorado and Montana where Jack’s parents reside.
Leaving Wyoming and Joe Pickett with a breather, C.J. Box provides his fans with a great thriller starting with the premise of losing an adopted child to the biological parent. The story line is fast-paced from that opening phone call and never slows down as events spiral out of control. Fans will root for the “David” like couple to defeat the Goliath judge who has weapons on both sides of the law and uses them. With a strong support cast in both states and fully developed lead characters on both sides of the custody debate, readers will appreciate this terrific tale of suspense at its best.